Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Update on memorial service for Charles Perry

In the last couple of days, there has been an outpouring of love and grief for our own Charles Perry, who died suddenly on Saturday evening. Let me update you on a few things:

We will hold a service for Charles at St. Paul's Memorial Church on Sunday Oct. 31 at 3 pm. Bishop Shannon Johnston will preside and I will be preaching. Charles' interment will be at a later date at the Washington National Cathedral.

The Very Rev. Dr. Sam Lloyd, the Dean of the Washington National Cathedral, wrote a letter to the Cathedral community about Charles, which you can read by clicking HERE.

The National Cathedral also has a wonderful on-line photo gallery of pictures of Charles, which you can see by clicking HERE (and I've reposted a few on this page). The bottom photo shows Charles, left, standing with Peter Lee, right, who was the Bishop of the Diocese of Virginia.

I am reminded in looking at the photos of Charles' great strength of character. He not only put the last stones into the National Cathedral, he was a stone. In his letter, Dean Lloyd said this about Charles:
As provost, Perry was responsible to the bishop for all of the Cathedral’s operations, including worship, programs, and finances. When he was appointed, the Cathedral was $10.5 million in debt, and construction had been halted. Provost Perry oversaw both the successful campaign to eradicate the debt and the subsequent effort to raise the funds to finish the construction of the Cathedral in 1990.

In a 2001 interview, Provost Perry named two things he considered his most important legacy at the Cathedral. The first is no surprise. He was widely honored for having led the Cathedral through a major financial crisis, and also for his intrepid leading of the construction of the Cathedral to its completion. But he also cited his passionate commitment to the Cathedral’s programs.

“I think the Cathedral has a profound ministry of teaching, which is what your programmatic ministry is—doing things that other people are not doing. I want to be remembered as a teacher,” Perry said. “That, to me, is something I’m very proud of.”

We at the Cathedral give thanks to God for the resolute leadership and devoted service of Charles Perry, one of the Cathedral’s giants. May light perpetual shine upon him.
All of us at St. Paul's extend our condolences and sympathy to Joy Perry and her family, and to all whose lives were deeply touched by Charles. We miss him greatly even as we know he is still very close to us just across the horizon where we cannot see.

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